It took her a while to know again who she was. That was because she was sleeping and names aren’t needed in dreams.

Her name is Loveday. She was named after the street where she was born. She shortened it to Daisy, but she had never felt it belonged to her. Luke shortened it to Lovely. She liked that. Who wouldn’t? It sounded so nice and warm when he said it.

His name doesn’t matter anymore. It’s just something to write on a headstone. If he even has one.

She has been searching for him in her sleep every night. He is Luke, the sweet boy she had loved long ago. Her whole life she has never forgotten him. And now he looks just the same as he did back then. He knew when she started to look for him, but it had taken him a long time to reach her. They are both still a little confused about how they did it or where they are now but it’s all oddly familiar. She has decided to question nothing. In her dream they reminisce, observe, regret, celebrate, miss things, have opinions, wander, laugh, share their love and shed tears and they haven’t discovered everything yet.

‘I suppose we’ll have to move on eventually, but I can’t see where we should go,’ she said, taking his hand.

She was surprised his hand still felt alive to her touch. He felt the same as he always had as he leaned against her. She rubbed his palm, running her finger across the generous Mount of Venus at the base of his thumb. She looked at the lifeline that crossed his palm and recalled that it wasn’t the first time she had noticed it was shorter than hers.

He gripped her hand firmly. ‘I’m happy to be stuck here. If we move on, we might lose each other. We might cease to exist as ourselves. We might not exist at all. Have you thought of that? It’s not like getting up and catching a train and knowing your destination.’

‘No.’ She held his hand in both of hers now, for safety. ‘That’s a scary thought. I don’t like thinking about it.’ She paused. ‘Do you think everyone who dies is still around somewhere?’

Luke shrugged. ‘I don’t know. And I don’t really care. Maybe they didn’t wait around. I’ve waited around for you, I think. It’s made me feel alive. But perhaps the dead can dream in their coffins, and this is all only a dream we’re sharing.’

‘I don’t want to wake up. But I’m sure I’m not in a coffin. I remember going to bed.’ She was sure she was only asleep.

Luke smiled. ‘I’m dead. That’s certain. Though I can’t see my coffin walls anymore. I’m sure I’m usually up in the open air somewhere now. I think I’m still real. I feel as if I’m alive. But I might not be here at all if you didn’t dream of me. I wonder if I will ever understand what death is.’

‘Maybe we could catch a train if I believe we can, and if this is all only a dream?’

‘If that’s what you really want to do you have to promise never to let go of me if we enter the tunnel. And don’t wake up, Lovely. Please don’t wake up. If you wake you’ll be gone again.’

‘I promise. I won’t wake up.’

A chill breeze made the autumn leaves swirl around their feet.

‘We could stay here longer couldn’t we?’ he said, putting an arm around her. ‘I should never have mentioned the trains. It was always better arriving than it was departing.’

‘Yes, and it’s such a lovely, brisk, sunny day. Let’s just stay here a while. I don’t mind the cold. Let’s watch the people passing by like we used to, and we can visit some of our favourite places before we go.’

He nodded. ‘Whatever you like. You decide. I’ve lost all sense of time.’


I don’t want to go to a party

I don’t want to go to that party or any other party ever again. I have never liked parties. Now I like them even less. Everyone laughing and playing as if the world is the same as it was, as it was before but it’s not.  How can they play at a party? Don’t they know or care that we’re all going to die. Everything dies. My dog died; my cat died. I cried. It was sad but the world was still normal. Now my grandad died, and it’s changed. Christmas is not going to be the same. They said Father Christmas isn’t real. Nothing is the same. It’s all nothing. The world feels like it’s wrapped in an old damp sock that I can’t take away from my mouth. They told me not to cry so I don’t. They said I will make it harder for everyone else if I cry. I wouldn’t cry now anyway. I am stuck inside a bubble. The world used to be light even when it was cloudy. My grandad and I played a game with the clouds, seeing shapes and making up stories. We saw a dragon swallow itself in the wind, one little puff at a time.

Penny’s Desk

Penny was trying to tidy her desk of the piles of stuff that had accumulated since she last did any work. She felt she couldn’t deal with the task at hand until the desk was clear. She looked at the withered poinsettia her mother had given her at Christmas. Like her mother, it had died. This made it hard to throw the plant away. It was the last gift her mother gave her and during the rushes back and forth to the hospital she had neglected it. She shut her eyes a moment and then, closing her mind to sentimentality she tossed it into the bin.

     Next, she looked at the business cards she had carried in her wallet for years when visiting clients. She certainly didn’t need them anymore, though she was proud of the corporate title she had once achieved. Into the bin they went.

     The Tarot pack was gathering thick dust, she wiped it over and put it in the drawer. That Tarot pack had been useful when she was made redundant. It had boosted her income. She had never charged for a tarot reading in her life before, but needs must when the devil drives. Those readings had paid for her groceries for several weeks. She hoped she wouldn’t need to do that again, but the future is always uncertain. She placed the silver locket on top of the pack and closed the drawer.

     She shifted a pile of books and papers and discovered a pack of red hair-dye. That must be well out of date. She gave up dying her hair as soon as she left her job. It was a relief to be able to stop using the dye and watch the grey roots grow longer after she didn’t have to look presentable to clients anymore. Penny was not interested in being presentable these days. Another one for the bin.